Banker Middle East spoke with Faisal Al Haimus, Chairman & President of Trade Bank of Iraq as to the role the bank is playing in Iraq and what the future holds
editor's pickWednesday 21, November 2018
What are Trade Bank of Iraq’s key strategic goals?
The Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) is making great strides towards reaching its strategic goals both in business and in assisting the ongoing reconstruction of Iraq as it continues to define its reputation as an effective institution with access to global financial networks. TBI’s robust links with major regional and international partners, a greatly improved security situation within the country and a strong partnership with the Iraq government as it moves ahead with vital infrastructure repair and development projects are key factors in TBI’s optimistic outlook and positive forecast for the years ahead.
Established in 2003, TBI has been at the vanguard of major commercial and developmental projects across Iraq. It handles approximately 80 per cent of the trade finance business in the country. TBI’s mission is to aid in the reconstruction of Iraq by facilitating international trade and it continues to be at the forefront of large-scale infrastructure programmes as well as the expansion and upgrade of Iraq’s financial industry and services. Encouraging and securing foreign investment is one of TBI’s key goals as it promotes the country and its own services as a reliable option for investors. At the end of 2017, TBI had total assets of $19.3 billion and net profit of $362.43 million.
What role does TBI play in Iraq's reconstruction efforts?
TBI’s status as the go-to bank with positive approval by the world’s business and financial institutions to support Iraq’s reconstruction has seen the bank play a leading role in projects designed to rapidly transform the country on an economic, social and infrastructural level. Boosting the prospects of Iraq’s economic future, creating the foundations for businesses to grow and boost employment and making sure companies and households have access to essential services and amenities are the core of TBI’s work.
So far $590 million has been secured by TBI for Phases One and Two of the nationwide ‘Power up Plan’ energy project that intends to connect homes and business across Iraq to a new and improved national electricity grid. Launched by Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity, the ‘Power up Plan’ is a key part of the country’s rebuilding and modernisation plans. Funding for this ambitious project was made available thanks to TBI’s comprehensive financing agreements made with General Electric (GE) and Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), which each signed a financing memorandum of understanding with TBI.
The MoUs included a Letter of Credit (LC) confirmation and discounting facility as part of the multi-million-dollar financing agreement. TBI also enjoys strategic cooperation agreements with UAE-based Mashreq Bank to further boost the implementation and completion of transformative projects. Mashreq, in partnership with TBI and GE, helped finance the Khor Al Zubair power station project, which will provide power to more than 100,000 homes. TBI’s involvement in the redevelopment of Iraq goes beyond large-scale infrastructure projects. The bank plays an essential role in growing the grassroots business environment that is essential to a successful and flourishing economy.
How has TBI sought to support the SME sector?
TBI’s recent signing of a 100 million Euro Basic Loan Agreement (BLA) for financing loans with Commerzbank, the Frankfurtbased bank and financial services company, was a major boost to small and medium sized businesses and projects in Iraq. The BLA is part of the long-term strategy of TBI to create new opportunities for employment and accelerate economic growth at all levels of the national economy.
What are your expansion plans?
Local and regional expansion is seen as a key component in TBI’s growth. The bank operates 25 branches and 122 ATMs & CDMs across Iraq. It has established solid relationships with 400 major banks across 119 cities in 60 countries. representative office was opened in in Abu Dhabi in 2017 at Abu Dhabi Global Market on Al Maryah Island, boosted the bank’s international credentials and has helped to initiate positive moves in the region. The bank has also received approvals from the authorities to open a full branch in Saudi Arabia which is scheduled to open during early 2019. The Abu Dhabi representative office played a significant role in enhancing relationships with entities such as GE, SCB and Mashreq. It also aided in the launch of the first fixed income fund in Iraq, a milestone in the development of the country’s financial and economic landscape.
What does the future look like for TBI?
As TBI moves forward with its strategic plan that will take the bank up to 2021, it continues to play a pivotal and hugely influential role in Iraq’s ongoing recovery and regeneration. The success of the bank’s endeavours are directly linked to the stability and prosperity of the country and have a farreaching impact on Iraqi society. TBI’s track record makes for a positive outlook. TBI was recently awarded the award for Best Trade Finance Bank in Iraq by Banker Middle East.
The bank has a proven track record of success in attracting leading institutions and companies from around the region and across the globe to invest in the future development of Iraq. Our reputation as a trusted and effective investment partner has seen TBI take the lead in securing the funding needed to aid in the reconstruction of the country’s key infrastructure as well as providing access to the essential financial support needed to encourage SMEs to grow and flourish. TBI will continue to play a major role in Iraq’s growth and we look forward to aiding the nation’s redevelopment with the support of our network of international institutions and forging new relationship with companies and banks across the world.
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